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Office of Community Colleges

Update on Common Course Curriculum Alignment Initiative

We continue to make progress with curriculum alignment for all Associate of Applied Science degrees and technical certificate programs.  To date, 16 Common Course Libraries have been completed. 

Most recently, in the 30-day review process ending March 4, the Board approved the library for the A.A.S. in Nursing.  This library has also been approved by the Tennessee Board of Nursing and received a very positive review. 

With approval of the revised framework for the A.A.S. in General Technology by the Board in the most recent 30-day review. The moratorium now can be lifted once institutional approval is granted by the curriculum committee. The newly defined A.A.S. in General Technology will enable community colleges to better serve the unique needs of students and regional employers.

All health related programs are involved in the alignment process with the goal of having these libraries established by the end of spring semester.  Approximately half of the programs related to advanced manufacturing are in progress.  The goal is to complete these Libraries by the end of 2016.

An established library may serve to align three or more degrees, numerous concentrations, and a wide variety of technical certificates.  When one considers that all 13 community colleges may have to submit multiple proposals to accomplish the alignment for each program, the scope of this initiative can be imagined. Of the approximately 790 programs on the combined Academic Program Inventory for all TBR community colleges, 590 programs have been impacted thus far.  Note, that the word was “impacted.”  In most cases, the institution has not yet made revisions to existing programs.

Projected timeline for system-wide implementation

Twelve completed libraries were distributed to chief academic officers of the  community colleges in October 2015, with anticipation of implementation for fall 2016. During 2016, we anticipate the completion of approximately 40 additional libraries be implemented in either fall 2017 or 2018, depending on transition factors, including accreditation cycles. In 2017 or early 2018, we hope to have the libraries completed, but it will take another year or more to implement those final libraries.

Once the library is established and approved by the Board, each institution must develop their programs within the established framework to meet workforce needs.  Each revised or new academic program must go through the institution’s curriculum review and approval process and meet the timeline for having all courses entered into BANNER and the Catalog to begin registration in April for the following fall semester.

It is important to remember that this is not just a one-time and done initiative.  Instead, it is a continuous improvement process.  Libraries will be reviewed routinely and updated as needed, based upon the recommendations of faculty serving on the Statewide Curriculum Committees for each discipline.

Curriculum management software to support curriculum alignment

As you might imagine, to establish and maintain alignment for the system—not just for the AAS and technical certificate programs, but also for TTPs and smooth transfer for university programs—we need a software to manage the course inventory and approval processes for the future.

The RFP process for identifying an appropriate software was completed during fall semester 2015.  On Jan. 28, the Chancellor signed a contract with DIGARC, Inc. for the use of their Curriculog software to manage the curriculum approval process and Acalog software that will serve as a system-wide catalog to define all courses delivered at TBR institutions.

Digarc staff will begin work with TBR staff and representatives from our institutions in mid-April, with training scheduled to begin in May 2016.  Digarc will provide regional face-to-face training sessions and frequent webinars throughout this year.  We anticipate to have the system implemented at all institutions by the end of this year.